Mind

Computer vs Mind 2011 – getting out of Dodge

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In “Mind vs. Machine”, in The Atlantic (March 2011), Brian Christian reflects

When the world-champion chess player Garry Kasparov defeated Deep Blue, rather convincingly, in their first encounter in 1996, he and IBM readily agreed to return the next year for a rematch. When Deep Blue beat Kasparov (rather less convincingly) in ’97, Kasparov proposed another rematch for ’98, but IBM would have none of it. The company dismantled Deep Blue, which never played chess again.

The apparent implication is that—because technological evolution seems to occur so much faster than biological evolution (measured in years rather than millennia)—once the Homo sapiens species is overtaken, it won’t be able to catch up. Simply put: the Turing Test, once passed, is passed forever. I don’t buy it.

Rather, IBM’s odd anxiousness to get out of Dodge after the ’97 match suggests a kind of insecurity on its part that I think proves my point. The fact is, the human race got to where it is by being the most adaptive, flexible, innovative, and quick-learning species on the planet. We’re not going to take defeat lying down. No, I think that, while the first year that computers pass the Turing Test will certainly be a historic one, it will not mark the end of the story.

No, I bet not. For one thing, if computers became a big problem, pulling the plug is always an option. I did that once with a TV, and nothing bad happened.

Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

6 Replies to “Computer vs Mind 2011 – getting out of Dodge

  1. 1
    tragic mishap says:

    IBM admits that the program was modified between matches according to the rules, but Kasparov accuses them of using human input during matches.

    Kasparov has since played another IBM computer program named Deep Junior to a 3-3 tie.

  2. 2
    johnnyb says:

    In addition, the computer had complete access to all of Kasparov’s matches, and Kasparov didn’t have access to any match played by Big Blue.

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    Would I be right in thinking that the difficulty is that the computer’s programmers are handicapped by the necessity to anticipate what K (or whoever) is going to do, instead of just responding?

    Otherwise, it would be obvious that it was them and not a “computer’ that was doing the real work.

  4. 4
    Ilion says:

    The Turing Test is bogus, it’s question-begging and special-pleading, and doubtless other well-know logical fallacies.

    There will *never* be a computer program which is a mind; it’s not even a hypothetical possibility. The “hard AI” folk can bark up that tree (and questoin-beg) until the heat-death of the universe, and the best they can ever hope to accomplish is to fool themselves (and, as they hope to do, you) that they have created a mind out of mechanized counting.

  5. 5
    Barb says:

    This is pretty interesting, considering an IBM computer (forgot its name) beat two humans, one of whom is Ken Jennings, at Jeopardy! last night. Its winnings will be donated to charity.

    Jennings is the winningest Jeopardy! contestant ever. He won something like $2 million playing the game.

  6. 6
    O'Leary says:

    Yes, Barb at 5, but wasn’t that the same computer that was programmed with the byte that Toronto is a US city?

    http://www.thestar.com/enterta.....s-u-s-city

    That’s the kind of mistake few humans ever make.

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